What’s that smell? The quirky sign that you may be pregnant

Posted in Pregnancy Symptoms and tagged .


What’s that smell? It could be the scent of pregnancy!

You’ve suddenly developed supersonic smell – you can sniff out a pair of smelly socks from two rooms away. And things that used to set your tastebuds racing now turn your stomach when you smell them from 10 feet. If you’re positive that your nose has become incredibly sensitive since falling pregnant, you’re not alone.

About two-thirds of mums-to-be say they have hyperosmia or a heightened sense of smell, and it’s often one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Yep, this is one pregnancy symptom that’s on the nose.

What is hyperosmia?

Basically it means you can smell even the strangest things. While it’s often been linked to pregnancy, there’s not much scientific research to back it up. Studies have found that pregnancy does seem to trigger sensitivity to certain smells, which could be linked to food aversions.
Some experts think oestrogen could give mums-to-be a bionic sense of smell, but at the moment this is still another one of those strange, unexplained pregnancy symptoms. File it in the Pregnancy Twilight Zone.

Will I get it?

Like all pregnancy symptoms, it differs from each mumma-to-be. Some may find their sensitive nose sends their morning sickness into overdrive, others may not notice any change at all.

We asked the Mums’ Grapevine community what happened to their sense of smell when they fell pregnant, and here’s what they revealed:

“I could smell blood in cooked meat.” – Anita

“If the curtains in the window were open I swore I could smell the moon beams or if our lamp was on I could smell the electricity in it … or the tap water – I hated that smell.” – Amanda

“I’m nine months pregnant and I could have worked in the airport as a sniffer dog! My sense of smell is so strong!” – Delina

“I couldn’t stand the smell of my husband! I thought it may have been his deodorant so he changed brands. Didn’t work. Every time he came near me I threw up.” – Tammi

“I could smell tomato from about a mile away, and it made me dry-heave.” – Elizabeth

“All I could smell was was dirt! It was so strange.” – Vicky

“I swear I could smell sugar in food and it was gross.” – Caroline

What can you do about it?

There isn’t anything you can actually take to treat hypersomia. But the good news is, it’s not permanent and you should be back to sniffing the roses (and not everything within a 10 metre radius) by the second trimester. Although some mums say their strong sense of smell stayed until they gave birth.

In the meantime, if you do find your heightened sense of smell is putting your morning sickness into overdrive, get to know the triggers and what smells make your stomach turn and avoid them. Don’t let those smells in the house, ask co-workers to hold up on the Channel No 5. and get plenty of fresh air during the day.

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